Tom Cleverley has called for a "no-excuses mentality" from his Watford team-mates once the Premier League resumes.

The club returned to training for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak last week, but things have hardly been smooth for the Hornets.

Captain Troy Deeney is not attending training due to his concerns around Covid-19 and its disproportionate affect on BAME people, as well as his son's medical situation, while five people from the club are self-isolating because of positive tests, or because of coming into contact with another positive person, including defender Adrian Mariappa.

Nevertheless, Cleverley told the Guardian that once the team are playing again, they need to earn their place in the top flight.

“The odds are that the season is going to go ahead,” he said.

“We are going to prepare for that and we have to back ourselves. We need to adopt a no-excuses mentality and show we have no problems about continuing and proving that we do deserve to be in this league.”

Cleverley is one of several players who has felt comfortable enough to return to training, while others are following the example set by Deeney in avoiding the training ground due to their concerns.

The former-Manchester United man tried to quell those fears by explaining how safe he believes it is.

“I was one of the players more comfortable with returning and now I have seen how phase one is working I feel even more comfortable. It’s well organised and it’s safe." he said.

“There have been a couple of players who have had doubts, and that’s fine, but I can only be positive about it. If we are going to save ourselves on the pitch we are going to need a no-excuses mentality.

“What would I tell Troy? I would say that so far in training I have come into contact with as many people as I would visiting the supermarket or going for a morning jog round my estate. I would talk him through the details, that’s all, though I appreciate we have not started contact training yet. That looks like it might be a pivotal moment. Any increase in positive tests during phase two would probably put the whole thing in jeopardy.”